Forthcoming Feb. 2012: “Thoreau’s Importance for Philosophy” (Fordham UP)

Rick Anthony Furtak (Philosophy, Colorado College) has sent us word of an edited collection — to be published by Fordham University Press in February 2012 — that we are sure will interest many of our readers: Thoreau’s Importance for Philosophy, edited by Furtak, along with Jonathan Ellsworth and James D. Reid. Prof. Furtak informs us that this book will include a new interview with Stanley Cavell that almost nobody has seen.

Below is a brief description of the book. For further information about it, we suggest that you email Prof. Furtak directly, by clicking here.

Although Henry David Thoreau’s best-known book, Walden, is admired as a classic work of American literature, it has not yet been widely recognized as an important philosophical text. In fact, many academic philosophers would be reluctant to classify Thoreau as a philosopher at all. The purpose of this volume is to remedy this neglect, to explain Thoreau’s philosophical significance, and to argue that we can still learn from his polemical conception of philosophy. Thoreau sought to establish philosophy as a way of life and to root our philosophical, conceptual affairs in more practical or existential concerns. His work provides us with a sustained meditation on the importance of leading our lives with integrity, avoiding what he calls “quiet desperation.” The contributors to this volume approach Thoreau’s writings from different angles. They explore his aesthetic views, his romantic naturalism, his understanding of the self, his ethical theory, and his political stances. Most importantly, they show how Thoreau returns philosophy to its roots as the love of wisdom.

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